It's true that the original Yorkshire terrier was bred to be a small, tough working dog used to clean out rats from coal mines and cotton mills. However, it's also suggested that the original Yorkshire terrier was twice the size of the beautiful toy breed we've come to know. Now that they are family members rather than working dogs, the Yorkie has evolved his look. Yorkie grooming styles now reflect their current pampered pet status.
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Today, most Yorkshire terriers, also called Yorkies, rarely weigh more than 7 pounds. They are delicate physically but spirited in temperament, and despite being small, they can make good watch dogs. Pet Yorkies are easier to keep clean and tangle-free if the fur is trimmed regularly. Short grooming styles for Yorkies work best for the average household, especially the practical puppy cut and teddy bear clip.
Grooming Yorkies for show
The silky hair of a Yorkshire terrier requires maintenance and daily brushing. Grooming Yorkies can be complicated, particularly when trying to keep the Yorkie's coat long and flowing like that of a classic show dog. The show cut allows the hair to grow long all over the body, including the muzzle.
With the show cut, the dog's silky, hairlike fur grows the same length, grazing the floor as the dog runs. This is a desirable effect in the show ring but vastly impractical for the average Yorkshire terrier. For pets, especially those who run outside, grooming styles for Yorkies are best kept on the short side.
Yorkie grooming style: puppy cut
The easiest and likely the favorite Yorkie cut among those who groom their terriers at home is the puppy cut, sometimes called the summer cut. It's the shortest, it's the simplest to achieve, and it requires the least upkeep. Yorkshire terrier hair should not be clipped shorter than 1 inch because fur sheared too close to the skin can cause irritation.
The puppy cut is simple because it sees the entire coat trimmed evenly the same length, including the face, removing the long, wispy beard around the muzzle that is characteristic of an adult Yorkshire terrier. Consequently, the result looks puppylike and younger. An added bonus is that the dog is easier to brush, requiring only one tool, preferably a slicker brush. Also, the dog will be cooler and more comfortable in warm weather.
Yorkie grooming style: teddy bear cut
Similarly, the teddy bear cut is a modified puppy-cut style but is one that requires more skill to accomplish. A professional groomer is the best choice to achieve a teddy bear cut because some scissoring is required. With this Yorkie grooming style, the coat is cut all the same length but longer — 1 or 2 inches — all over the dog's body. Some groomers trim the body and legs shorter than the head.
Either way, this clip leaves enough fur around the face to trim the head into an adorable round shape, which is a popular look for many small dogs, including the fluffy bichon frise. The teddy bear cut often leaves enough length on the head to add the characteristic Yorkie top knot with bow.
Conditioner for Yorkies
Yorkshire terriers are single-coated dogs, and their hair grows rather than sheds, reaching a length of 14 inches long. Clearly, shorter cuts are desirable for pet Yorkies, but even short fur needs to be washed regularly. More importantly, Yorkie hair requires some conditioning to maintain shine and strength.
It is best to use a conditioner intended specifically for Yorkies that is free from sulfates and parabens. Many are spray-on conditioners designed to be left on the fur. Some provide the added advantage of reducing the dry, itchy skin to which Yorkshire terriers are prone during winter months.